President misled on SL obligation to Paris Agreement


Dr. Janaka Ratnasiri, who writes exhaustively and authoritatively, in his above titled letter quotes a Cabinet paper submitted where it says "Sri Lanka has signed the Paris Agreement which was adopted in the 21st summit of the partners of the United Nations Framework Convention [UNFCCC], held in Paris in the year 2015. Accordingly, Sri Lanka is obliged for the minimization of the greenhouse [gas] emission, in the year 2030, by 20%". In quoting the above, he quite correctly says, ‘The Paris Agreement has not imposed any limitations on Greenhouse Gas emissions on any country." To support his statement, it is best to quote from INDCS submitted at the Paris Agreement, which very emphatically states, "Sri Lanka reserves the right to revise its intended national contributions and targets at any point of time and consider the INDCs to be a living document that should be integrated with changed/modified national development goals and targets."

To further support the statement that the Paris Agreement has not imposed any limitations, here are some countries which are adding Coal Fired Power Plants, obtained from browsing the web site – Worldwide. Almost 1200 coal fired plants are in the planning stages and over three-quarter are to be built in China and India. China and India are planning to build over 60% more Coal fired capacity than coal fired generating capacity that currently exists in the US.

In the United Kingdom, coal consumption increased by nearly a quarter, between the second quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2012.

Germany is encouraging the construction of 10 gigawatts of coal fired generation to replace its nuclear plants, and provide backup power for its wind and solar units, which require back up when wind isn’t blowing, and sun does not shine.

China gets over 70% of its electricity generation from Coal. China is building at least one coal fired unit a week. The interesting news is that China cannot afford to replace its old coal fired technology. It is building state-of-the-art coal fired plants that are cleaner, that have reduced criteria pollutants dramatically, than those allowed to be built in the US. An irony of our current regulatory policy may be that China will ultimately become the world’s supplier of the most advanced clean coal plants, despite the large size of the US coal power resource base.

This is mainly to show how other major developed countries who are signatories to the Paris Accord have responded, not that they violate the agreement; but has taken action to meet the demand till such time as renewable sources of energy is made available. Perhaps days are not long before China comes up with technology for clean coal.

The last para of Dr. Janaka Ratnasiri, states ‘… replace at least some of the proposed coal power plants and request external funding to meet an additional incremental costs, including the cost of building the necessary infrastructure required to bring liquid fired NG to the country. The construction of the Kerawalapitiya has been unduly delayed due to political interferences, aided and abetted by high bureaucrats, and presently a court case is hearing the allegations made by M/s. Lakdhavani of manipulation to award the tender to a Chinese firm which has quoted a higher rate’. The reason for political interference is obvious and need not be discussed. However, the private suppliers will be the beneficiaries as CEB will have to look up to them to meet the demand. So the rot goes on unabated and we, the customers, will have to grin and bear.




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